The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Trainer Phillip Stokes has declared his upset Geelong Cup 2023 winner Amade as a doubtful acceptor for the Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) in 13 days’ time.
The veteran 10-year-old Casamento gelding was huge late getting the gap at the right time to finish first up the middle in a thrilling finish to this year’s Group 3 $500,000 Geelong Cup (2400m) run in the teeming rain.
The galloper missed the kick by 12 lengths in the same race back in 2021 before making up all the ground to cross just 4.25 lengths back fourth to Tralee Rose.
Two years on and Amade was able to atone and reward the patience of his OTI Racing connections with a feature race victory.
“Fantastic. He’s been building up to this. We had him peaking today,” Stokes told Racing.com post-win.
It had been 912 days between wins for Amade who tracked really nicely into today’s race improving each time out this prep including his lead-up fifth to Future History in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) last start.
In the Geelong Cup jockey Zac Spain wasn’t able to get to the lead as planned but produced a 10/10 ride all the same biding his time and getting the space when needed late.
“Zac just gave him a peach of a ride,” Stokes said.
“It didn’t go to plan…Zac went to plan b and it panned out beautifully.”
In a bit of pre-race drama First Immortal was backed out of the stalls and vetted after he lunged when the barriers didn’t open first try.
He was passed fit to run and got away cleanly, showing muster to cross and lead the early stages before dropping back to settle one-off second after Magical Lagoon whipped up to take up front running.
Around the turn the Chris Waller-trained import was joined by First Immortal who went to the lead 250m out from the line.
Magical Lagoon gave a good kick but got swamped as a wall of horses came on across the track forcing an exciting finish to the 136th edition of the Geelong Cup.
It was Amade ($31) who was able to surge forward in a big upset at a juicy price.
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Ashrun ($5), fourth in the race back in 2020, ran second after getting through late with Sir Lucan ($19) for the Waterhouse/Bott stable holding for third after a run in the box-seat throughout.
Magical Lagoon ($21) eventually ran sixth for jockey Damien Oliver in his final Geelong Cup ride, but only a length off the winner.
Waller also prepared the fourth and fifth over the line in the Geelong Cup finishing order with Mr Waterville ($26) ridden by Craig Williams and More Felons ($12) huge late making up ground under Michael Dee.
Amade was 41st on the Melbourne Cup order of entry before his Geelong Cup victory.
Stokes however said the horse was more likely to contest the Group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on November 11.
“It’s great to get the win on the board,” he said.
“I doubt it (that he’ll go to the Melbourne Cup) but we’ll keep the dream alive.
“We’ve also got the Queen Elizabeth earmarked.”
After his slashing run in the Geelong Cup More Felons has firmed into $31 with the full markets available by clicking here.
2023 Geelong Cup Results & Finishing Order
|1||11||AMADE (IRE)||Phillip Stokes||Zac Spain||11||54kg||$31|
|2||2||ASHRUN (FR)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Mark Zahra||0.3L||1||56.5kg||$5|
|3||10||SIR LUCAN (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Linda Meech||0.4L||2||54kg||$19|
|4||16||MR WATERVILLE (IRE)||Chris Waller||Craig Williams||0.5L||7||54kg||$26|
|5||6||MORE FELONS (IRE)||Chris Waller||Michael Dee||0.6L||10||55kg||$12|
|6||5||MAGICAL LAGOON (IRE)||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||1.1L||5||55kg (cd 55.5kg)||$21|
|7||13||FIRST IMMORTAL||Mark & Levi Kavanagh||Ms Jamie Kah||1.6L||12||54kg||$2.90F|
|8||7||VIRTUOUS CIRCLE (NZ)||Liam Howley||Damian Lane||4.6L||4||55kg||$5|
|9||3||KING FRANKEL (IRE)||Annabel Neasham||Jamie Mott||5.6L||3||56kg||$9.50|
|10||15||FERAGO||Patrick F Ryan Jnr||Harry Grace||6L||6||54kg||$31|
|11||17||THE MAP||Dan Clarken & Oopy MacGillivray||Ben Price (a)||8.25L||8||54kg||$61|
|12||14||TIMOUR (FR)||Chris Waller||Beau Mertens||8.65L||9||54kg||$101|
|13||9||HIGH EMOCEAN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Harry Coffey||10.4L||13||54kg||$31|
|4||SHERAZ (FR)||Chris Waller||0|
|1||SPANISH MISSION (USA)||Peter G Moody & Katherine Coleman||Blake Shinn||0|
|12||MOUNT POPA (IRE)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jye McNeil||0|
|8||FANCY MAN (IRE)||Annabel Neasham||John Allen||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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